A new Ikea store is opening up in some Massachusetts city, and (as expected) the herds of stampeding, mooing consumer cattle are frothing at the mouth to get in. They’re camping out in front of the store, having rock concerts, dressing in Ikea colors, and gridlocking traffic. Some even flew in from other states to camp out and forge lasting bonds with fellow Ikea shoppers.
It’s become a familiar scene. The massive furniture chain’s openings have turned into can’t-miss events for the company’s customers. They show up days in advance – sometimes with their faces painted in Ikea’s signature blue and yellow colors — and stage games in the parking lots.
Tent cities sprouted up outside Ikea openings in Atlanta and suburban Chicago earlier this year, bringing media coverage and a notable amount of buzz. Ikea has stoked the fires by offering gift cards and free merchandise to the first customers in line.
Marketing experts say the frenzied scenes generate extra local interest for the store in the weeks leading up to the openings. And because the customers create most of the energy, the festivities require very little in the way of marketing expenses.
“There’s so much pent-up demand for these stores that the openings have become huge events,” said Michael Levy, a marketing professor at Babson College and editor of the Journal of Retailing. “It’s really a public relations windfall.”
Maybe I shouldn’t care, but it makes me angry to see people acting like hogs at slop-time (especially for hit-and-miss furniture like Ikea’s). Jesus Christ, people! Is this what brings meaning to your empty little lives? Do you really have nothing better to do? Is getting a free chair or being one of the first 1000 shoppers inside a new store truly the highlight of your existence? It’s a furniture store. That’s it. No piece of furniture is worth two weeks of your life, or even two days. Get your priorities straightend out, for fuck’s sake! Regain your dignity and self-control, and start acting like humans instead of well-trained monkeys.
Having said that…. Happy Thanksgiving! I’ll be back Monday. 🙂